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Mike Modano retires from NHL

09/21/2011, 2:30pm MDT
By NHL.com

Mike Modano turned to social media to announce his retirement on Tuesday. Modano, the all-time leading NHL scorer among U.S.-born players, posted the news on his Facebook and Twitter accounts and also announced he will be holding a press conference Friday.

Mike Modano turned to social media to announce his retirement on Tuesday.

Modano, the all-time leading NHL scorer among U.S.-born players, posted the news on his Facebook and Twitter accounts and also announced he will be holding a press conference Friday.

"After a long summer of thinking about my future, I've come to the decision that it's time to retire as a player from the NHL," Modano wrote on his Facebook page, a link to which he also posted to his Twitter account. "There's way too many people to thank here at this time and too much to say, so I have a press conference scheduled for early Friday afternoon. Check back Friday late afternoon for more. What a great ride it's been!"

Modano played 1,499 regular-season NHL games, including 1,459 with the Minnesota/Dallas franchise, and finished his career with 561 goals and 813 assists for 1,374 points. The first pick of the 1988 Entry Draft, he made his NHL debut with the North Stars in 1989 and played 21 seasons. The native of Livonia, Mich., returned home last season to play with the Red Wings, but injuries limited him to only 40 games.

"The greatest American player ever," former teammate Brett Hull told The Hockey News. "I don't think there's one better. He's by far No. 1."

Modano won the Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999. He holds NHL records for the most goals, points, playoff points (145) and games played by a U.S.-born player.

He also holds Minnesota/Dallas franchise records for games played in the regular season, games played in the playoffs (174), goals in the regular season (557), goals in the playoffs (58), assists in the regular season (802), assists in the playoffs (87) and points in both the regular season (1,359) and playoffs (145).

Modano was named to the NHL's All-Rookie team in 1990 and played in eight All-Star Games over his career.

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A follow-up to Ian Walsh's NHL career-path article (see Stripes - February 2015)

For the last 15 years, Ian Walsh has crisscrossed the United States as an NHL official. In this Part 2 of our conversation with Walsh, the 42-year-old Philadelphia native fielded a series of questions discussing life on the road, his conditioning schedule, mentors, on-ice struggles, the evolution of the game and advice for aspiring officials. 

USA Hockey: How do you think you've been able to maintain all of the officiating success you've had over the last 15 years?

Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.  

USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season? 

Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that. 

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USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?

Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.

USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official? 

Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.

USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career? 

Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.

USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?  

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USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?

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USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career? 

Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.

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